What to do if your neighbour is planning building works?

Learn more about the Party Wall process and how disputes between neighbours are resolved.

What is a Party Wall Notice?

 The Party Wall etc. Act Itself was formed in 1996, as a way to legislate work carried out on shared walls between semi-detached and terraced houses, or structures between detached houses.

The Party Wall Act came in to provide protection for each party and ensure that building work can be carried out in a sensible manner. It covers shared walls themselves, and structures that may be affected by work that is carried out between a 3 and 6-metre boundary between two properties.

The Party Wall Act states that any neighbour carrying out building works must inform those next door by issuing a notice detailing the work. The neighbour who receives the notice then has 14 days from the point a Party Wall Notice is issued to give their consent or request a Party Wall Settlement.

What to do if you receive a Party Wall Notice

If you’re on the receiving end of a Party Wall Notice, it is entirely up to you what you do. Firstly, it’s important to assess the work that is laid out and understand the implications. If you’re happy with the outcome of the work, then you should give written notice that you’re happy for work to proceed.

If you’re not happy with the proposed work then you should provide a written response detailing how you would like to proceed. It’s important to note that you can choose not to do anything, however, if you do this after 14 days then your neighbour is within their rights to issue a second notice which details that you are now in a dispute

What does your neighbour have to do if you don’t respond to a Party Wall Notice?

If you have chosen not to respond, the neighbour who wants to carry out the work will now need to instruct a surveyor. They will need to instruct a surveyor for themselves, however, they will also need to appoint one to act for you, as you have not responded to the Party Wall Notice.

If you do not respond to a Party Wall Notice, this means that both neighbours have technically failed to reach an agreement. To settle the dispute, a surveyor will need to arrange a Party Wall Award which will detail the work.

Certain responsibilities fall on your neighbour if you choose not to respond to a Party Wall Notice. If you accept the use of the same surveyor to represent you then your neighbour carrying out work won’t need to pay for you to appoint your own. However, if you choose to appoint your own surveyor to act in your interest, then these costs will be covered by the neighbour proposing the work.

If both surveyors from each side can’t agree, a third surveyor will need to come in as an independent judge and this will be paid for by the initial person who wants the work done.

Next steps

As you can see, it pays to use a surveyor who can help you avoid any neighbourly disputes. Learn more about how Sillence Hurn can assist you with your Party Wall dispute by contacting us today.

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